A One Big Happy that came by me recently:

Two (at least) different senses of the adjective average here: ‘at the statstical mean’ vs. ‘ordinary’ or ‘typical’. So Joe could be right.

From NOAD2, with more detail (including a negatively-tinged sense):

constituting the result obtained by adding together several quantities and then dividing this total by the number of quantities: the average temperature in May was 64°F.

• of the usual or ordinary standard, level, or quantity: a woman of average height.

• having qualities that are seen as typical of a particular person or thing: the average teenager prefers comfort to high fashion.

• mediocre; not very good: a very average director who made very average movies.

Ordinary language is not mathematical language, and there’s plenty of room here for multiple senses of a word. So it’s entirely possible that a typical person would believe themselves to be above the statistical mean.


One Response to “average”

  1. Doug Harris Says:

    And in the vicinity of Lake Woebegone, ALL children are “above average” (and the men are strong, and the women are handsome.)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: